A review of Al Bidiya Mosque: a visual essay by Marco Sosa

Back cover of book

*UPDATED AGAIN* Marco's images are now available on ARCHNET, an MIT website for researchers and practitioners of architecture. You can access the photos and rich infomration about the site here: Jami' al-Bidiya Badiyah, United Arab Emirates

*UPDATE* Please watch the video from the official book launch to know more about the research process and how Marco got this amazing project from initial idea to amazing final result:

I work with some pretty amazing people.  I count myself lucky that I have been blessed with wonderful students and colleagues with talents and passion for teaching that amaze me daily.  I need to share with you a recently published book by just such a colleague, and friend, Marco Sosa.

Front cover of Marco's book (available at MacGrudy's!)
Marco started this project almost three years ago. As a working architect/artist before coming to teach Design at Zayed University in September 2009 he was looking to show students what architecture was - and how it can have a major impact as something we live, pray or work in - but also as a symbol, of our heritage, culture and religion.

He heard about Al Bidiya mosque and decided to investigate himself. He went to visit and had to know more.. and knowing more for a researcher means learning more, discovering more and getting your hands dirty.

The research process involved many meetings and discussions with experts and reading about the mosque and about the region close to Dibba, where the mosque is located. In late spring 2010 he went to take the photographs of the mosque. And since then he has been working at bringing his photos to print.

Entrance - Marco Sosa
I would talk about his project with my students from the region and they were surprised that anyone would be interested... and yet Mr. Sosa was.  When my students saw the finished book they felt proud and mentioned that there should be a similar book about other archaeological sites around Dibba - such as the old houses in Watt and the old forts. They are going to use the book, and Marco as a reference and source for their Capstone projects about economic development in the Dibba region through eco-tourism. 

Al Bidiyia Mosque - Marco Sosa

Marco's Art & Design students had to same reaction to the project and to the book - we should do this too! We CAN do this too. They too are working on projects to capture their heritage through images and the written word.

All I can say is buy the book to feel the beauty of the mosque and to learn of the history of the mosque and the journey Marco took to realize his project from idea to realization. If you aren't in the UAE you can see a video of it here: Marco's video

This is the description of the book provided by Marco:

"The book provides a pictorial insight of the Al Bidiya Mosque in the Emirate of Al Fujairah,
United Arab Emirates. The publication aims to express the building’s importance as a
place of worship, as a living, working ‘vessel’ of historical, cultural and religious importance
in the UAE and provides a personal view of the mosque to the public, nationally and internationally.
The book uses black and white photography to capture the phenomenology of the place.
The book also contains an essay adding historical context by Dr. Ronald Hawker and an
artist conversation between the artist Marco Sosa and International sculptor Udo Rutschmann."

The description provided of course does the book justice - but it is not just a book. Marco has created something which will inspire students to look at their heritage in a new way, it will inspire and motivate them to take on the challenge of doing something similar (knowing they can ask Mr. Marco for guidance along the way).

Thank you Marco for this - we really all are proud of you for this beautiful piece of art.

A quiet corner - Marco Sosa


  1. Interesting and useful good luck :)
    Waiting for your new writing enjoyable

    Am one from people who impresses in your researched😘


  2. Thank you Ebrahim for your kind words. Hopefully before the New Year there will be more posts for you to enjoy. Smile and courage, Dr. Connie